I think TPM Reader JL has this right. The key tell for me is going to be whether they really push to get the FBI involved …
McConnell’s pretty savvy but I think he may have messed up. The smart move would have been to brush the whole thing off and wait it out.
Accusing “the political left” of bugging his HQ and asking the FBI to investigate just raises the stakes. Ashley Judd is not a politician even if she came close to becoming one. Regardless of KY’s being a pretty red state, if this becomes a media battle between a very unpopular senator and an actress he was prepared to savage, I just don’t see the Senator coming out on top. Making provocative statements that keep the issue in the headlines just doesn’t make a lot of sense. Again, it would be one thing if Judd were running. Then she’s a politician. But she’s not and that makes a huge difference. She’s just an actress Mitch McConnell was prepared to savage.
And that’s all assuming that he WAS bugged. If it turns out to be a tape made by someone in his own office operating on their own accord, then it becomes even worse for McConnell.